Now that First District Congressman David Wu has announced his resignation, the talk has turned to the logistics of his replacement.
Over at BlueOregon, Kari Chisholm has this lowdown on the process: The Constitution says that vacant House seats are resolved with a special election. There is no gubernatorial appointment, although the governor does set the date of the special election. According to the Secretary of State, if the date Kitzhaber selects is more than 80 days out from the resignation, there would be a special primary and a special general election. If the date he selects is fewer than 80 days after the resignation, Democrats and Republicans select their nominees through party conventions, and voters decide in a special general election.
The Oregonian reported that Kitzaber said he will set a date that allows for "sufficient time for the secretary of state to call a special primary." In other words, more than 80 days out from when Wu actually resigns, which he hasn't yet.
District 1 is a left leaning district, but less so with newly drawn congressional lines. But, according to The Oregonian, the special primary and general election will happen according to the old district lines. The new district lines will come into effect for the 2012 regular election.
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and State Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, both Democrats, already announced their candidacy for the seat. Rumor has it State Senator Suzanne Bonamici, D-Portland, is still considering a run. She posted on her facebook page that she "will have an announcement about that very soon" and she thanks supporters for their encouragement.
Now that District1 is an open seat, Republicans have a better shot at winning if they find a viable candidate. The Statesman Journal reports that likely front-runner State Senator Bruce Starr, R-Hillsboro, will not run. Rob Miller, president of Trailblazer Foods (the jams and jellies company, not the hoopers), says he is seriously considering running. Freshman Republican State Reps. Katie Eyre Brewer and Shawn Lindsay were cited as possible candidates by the Statesman. Republicans also mentioned Doug Keller and John Kuzmanich, the two Tea Party candidates who, combined, got more votes Republican Rob Cornilles in the last primary election in District 1. Cornilles has not ruled out a run, according to Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian.
Just for fun, BlueOregon is considering the possibility of Dennis Kucinic running for the seat.
Mayor Sam Adams announced this afternoon he would not seek re-election, leaving the seat open. New Season founder Eileen Brady and former city councilor Charlie Hales already have announced their campaigns.
Perhaps the most surprising news is that State Rep. Jefferson Smith, D-Portland is considering running for mayor. By surprising, I mean even Rep. Smith seemed a little surprised by the news. He was contacted by Willamette Week reporter Nigel Jacquiss who asked if he was considering entering the race. In an email exchange I had with Rep. Smith it seemed clear the news broke before he wanted it to; and before he was able to give the idea enough consideration. Rep. Smith's position at this point seems to be that he has not ruled it out, but he has only just begun to ponder the idea.
If Representative Smith decides to run for mayor, he will join co-founder of New Seasons Eileen Brady and former Portland City Councilor Charlie Hales, who both have announced their candidacy. Mayor Sam Adams has not announced whether or not he is seeking re-election, but many expect he will. Jeff Cogen, chair of the Multnomah County Commission, announced he is not running for mayor.
Representative Smith, a founder of the Oregon Bus Project and its former executive director, is well known throughout Oregon politics for his work to bring young voters to the forefront in Oregon politics. He also has access to an extensive network of supporters who know very well how to knock on doors and get someone elected.
If Representative Smith decides to enter the race, he will need to convince voters that he is a force not just in statewide politics, but with city wide issues as well. He has already made a name for himself in Portland by sponsoring legislation to improve safety on the MAX line (a distinctly Portland issue he tackled from the state level).
Multnomah County Commission District 3
County Commissioner Judy Shiprack is seeking re-election. The former state representative (then Judy Bauman) handily beat five other candidates for the seat. Alissa Keny-Guyer, an education and health advocate, is considering challenging Shiprack.
Portland City Council
Commissioner Randy Leonard says he won't seek re-election, Steve Novick so far is the only person to formally enter the race. The Oregonian reported that Jeri Williams, a program coordinator for Portland's Office of Neighborhood Involvement, is considering running. Novick, who is a political consultant and was a candidate for U.S Senate in 2008, is considered the front runner.
House District 36
Representative Mary Nolan, D-Portland, is challenging Amanda Fritz for her City Council seat. Dr. Sharon Meieran, an emergency room physician at Portland Adventist Hospital, formally announced her campaign for the House seat last week. Now Jennifer Williamson, a lawyer and sometimes-lobbyist, is jumping in. Williamson currently works for American Institutes for Research, an international social science research nonprofit. Both women attended Emerge Oregon, a workshop for Democratic women interested in running for office. Willamette Week reports Jake Oken-Berg, a political consultant, is considering running as a Democrat.